HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A young woman posing in what could be a Hancock County Sheriff Deputy's uniform has stirred up questions and launched an internal investigation. WLOX News received the picture by email Thursday night. Now the sheriff is asking questions.
In the photo sent to WLOX News, the young woman is posing in what looks like a sheriff deputy's uniform shirt, duty belt and gun in the holster. The source who sent the photo to us said the gear belongs to a Hancock County Sheriff's deputy and the gun was loaded.
"We don't know if it was loaded or not," Sheriff Ricky Adam said. "We would have had to been there at the time, but it still concerns me that it was out there, loaded or not."
The picture looks as though it was taken in a restaurant. You can see tables and chairs in the background. Sheriff Ricky Adam said it is hard to make out much detail.
"The picture concerns me because it is a young woman wearing maybe one of our uniforms. I'm not sure, I couldn't tell on the picture. You know, our officers should use better discretions... if it was one of our uniforms," said Adam.
The next step, Adam said, is an investigation by the internal affairs division.
"They will do a thorough job and if it is determined it is one of our officers, and it is our uniform, we have procedures in place that will deal with the personnel issue and the disciplinary actions that come forth."
Each sworn deputy is issued a uniform, gun and duty belt for their use only, and solely to be used in an official capacity. Adam said if deputies from his team misused the gear, whether it be a full or part time deputy, the deputy will be reprimanded.
"We've worked very hard since January to improve the quality and the image of the Hancock County Sheriff's Office. With that being said, it's very important that we not let anyone, no matter who it is, soil our reputation that we've worked hard to improve on."
Adam said it will take some time before the investigation is complete.